Challenging profession: Aquarists at huge aquariums

Published 08.04.2018 20:34
Updated 08.04.2018 20:37
Challenging profession: Aquarists at huge aquariums

Dealing with the feeding, control, treatment and all other aspects of water and land creatures at aquariums, aquarists do their jobs willingly, even if it is sometimes dangerous

Aquarists who deal with the care and treatment of many nektons and land creatures, such as sharks, dusky groupers, anacondas and capybaras, are happy to bring to life to aquariums even if their profession is a difficult one.

At the large aquariums which are visited by nearly two million people every year, teams have been working for the control, feeding, care and treatment of thousands of living creatures.

Aquarists, who contribute to the care of these creatures and help them spend their lives in a healthy way, continue their jobs, loving it with a great interest, even if it is dangerous sometimes.

The aquarists prepare appropriate living spaces for the Gentoo penguins and check their health every day.

They deal with treatment and feeding of the creatures and formation of healthy living spaces for them and protection of these spaces. That is, they take care of everything about them.

Starting their shifts at 08.00 a.m. at Istanbul Aquarium, aquarists control the tanks and living spaces of fishes and other creatures before visiting hours and regularly check the suitability of water and feeding.

Thousands of sea and land creatures, among which sharks, laced morays (gymnothorax favagineus), Arothron meleagris fishes - commonly known as the Guinea fowl puffer or golden puffer - common eagle rays, cownose rays, red lionfishes, Gentoo penguins, dusky groupers, anacondas, capybara, whose homeland is South America, are under meticulous care in this aquarium.

Mehmet Mutlu, one of the personnel at the aquarium, is responsible for 12 long-tailed Gentoo penguins. Explaining that they clean the living spaces of the penguins and spread snow around here every morning, Mutlu said, "We check the health of the penguins. We look at whether they have a physical problem or not. Besides, we check their behavior. Then, we deal with their feeding. We give multivitamin complexes to penguins every day. In addition, divers practice the acrylic cleaning of the penguins and also clean waste in the deep."

South American capybaras are among the land animals under the care of Istanbul Aquarium.

Ayşenur Demir, who has been working as an aquarist at the aquarium for two years, is at the department of quarantine.

Noting there are some sections, such as the Mediterranean and ocean areas, in the quarantine area, Demir stressed, "We initially put creatures which come from outside to be housed at the aquarium through some quarantine protocols. We enable them to become healthy after being cleaned and to go to the place where they will be on display in a healthy condition. We also provide ill or injured animals with the necessary treatments, putting them in proper areas for their living conditions."

Aquarist Ali Uğur is responsible for the tank which represents the Atlantic Ocean and is the biggest area in the aquarium.

Uğur mentioned that they dive into this huge tank, which houses dangerous species, such as batoidea fishes, sharks and barracudas, every day. "We feed the batoidea fishes by hand. They are dangerous animals because of the sting in their tails. We also feed the sandbar sharks by hand in here. There are also tiger sharks which are really huge. We feed them by hand two times a week. We use protective gloves and equipment to prevent their bite," he continued.

Explaining that not everyone can easily manage this profession, he reported, "Actually, I chose this profession since I do not like working desk jobs. For this profession, you should be self-sacrificing and love animals and the job. When I started to work, everyone was talking about how difficult it is. They said that I cannot manage it. However, I like it very much. My profession and workmates are really good. I am happy to work in this profession."

Tuğçe Türk, who is another aquarist who graduated from the biology department, remarked that she chose this profession because she loves animals.

Türk feeds the capybara, which is a South American land animal that lives in the rainforests section of the aquarium and attracts the special attention of children. "Capybaras are herbivorous and meek animals. They are fed with vegetables mostly. They are really cute. If you work, loving your job and the animals, you will have no problem in here."

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